McCann’s account of what it is like to grow up a Catholic in a Northern Irish ghetto—first published in 1974—quickly became a classic account of the feelings generated by British rule. The author was at the center of events in Derry which first brought Northern Ireland to world attention. He witnessed the gradual transformation of the civil rights movement from a mild campaign for “British Democracy” to an all-out military assault on the British state. This book describes the people involved in the war, gives an account of the springs of the "Catholic" opposition, shows what their world was like and how their background affected the daily conduct of events. McCann gets beyond the rhtoroic of the organized groups to the real people involved—people who are not so different from those in any other British town.
"An essential reference work for those interested in the roots of the conflict in the North." —Irish Post
"Few could quarrel with the publisher's description of this as a classic." —Books Ireland
"There is no denying the powerful ways in which McCann recounts the events of those early years of the troubles." —Robert Fisk, The Times
"So honest, so human and so readable." —Irish Times
"[A] powerful memoir...The value of the book lies in its capturing sharply a particular viewpoint that ended up being highly consequential." —FiveBooks, The best books on Modern Irish History